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Find a backpacker job for your gap year in Australia or New Zealand

Many gap year travellers find a job by themselves once they arrive in Australia or New Zealand. There are plenty of websites, noticeboards and hostels that list backpacker job opportunities. The main problem that people encounter with a Australian or New Zealand job search is that they leave it too late to start looking for temporary work, and they run out of money. It is vital that you have enough money to support you while you are looking for temporary jobs, and you may get paid a week or even a month after you start work. You must have enough money to pay for essentials like accommodation and food while you are looking for a job, so budget carefully.

Temp agencies in Australia and New Zealand
One of the first things you should do if you are thinking of finding temp jobs in Australia or New Zealand is to find out about employment agencies in your destination cities or towns. Sometimes you can send them your CV via email in advance, but most will only be interested once you have arrived. Because of the restrictions on working holiday visas, you will be limited in terms of which jobs agencies will send you to. The main one being that you can only work for one employer for a maximum of 6 months. Most temp placements are much shorter than this though, so you should be fine. 

Different temp agencies focus on different sectors, so do your research online first and make sure that the ones you are going to contact will be relevant for you and the work you want to do. 

What is the best time of year to find temporary work in Australia and New Zealand?

If you are clever and do your research, you will be able to find seasonal work and temp jobs all year round. Try to plan your travel itinerary so that you will be in the right place at the right time. In the summer season (December, January and February) you should be in those tourist hot spots which will be super busy in the run up to Christmas. That’s not to say that there is no call for temporary staff at other times of the year in tourist destinations such as Sydney, Melbourne or Auckland though. Try planning your visit around major annual or one off events like the Melbourne Cup in November or the Mardi Gras in Sydney during February. If you are interested in fruitpicking or farm work, which is obviously extremely seasonal, then find out when the big crops and harvests take place and where, and plan around those dates. 

  • The main areas you will be able to find work in with a working holiday visa are office work, temping, picking and packing, harvest work and hospitality jobs.
  • Always make sure that you have enough money to support yourself while you are away
  • Don't leave job hunting until the last minute
  • Plan your itinerary so that you stand the best chance of finding temp jobs and backpacker work

Useful Facts

The average adult weekly wage in Australia is around AUS $1200.
The average adult weekly wage in New Zealand is just under NZ $1000.